When It Makes The Most Sense To Embrace Brand Transparency
Authenticity is playing a huge part in brand identity and audiences. Customers are smart—they’re well-informed, intelligent, and know when they’ve encountered a scammy brand. The moment they sense a scam or a sales pitch, consumers are out the door, making it a whole lot harder to focus on selling products when customers really don’t want to be sold to at all.
Consumers want to initiate a purchase because they like your brand, they like who you are, and they agree with what you stand for. That being said, brand transparency is the new sales pitch.
With how much information is out there now, it’s foolish for brands to shy away from pure transparency with their customers. People will find out what they want to know, no matter if you hide it well or not, so why not just be upfront?
When you’re real, you’ll attract real, genuine customers who will become loyal brand followers and do the sales pitch stuff for you. So open up, be transparent, and share the real, authentic brand behind your business.
Why Brand Transparency Matters
Transparency is a powerful tool when you know how to correctly use it. Because brand transparency is a great way to attract new customers and make them stick around, you have to know why, how and when to be transparent in order to benefit (and not hurt) your company.
Below are 3 of the top reasons that transparency matters for your brand marketing.
If your employees aren’t all in with your brand, how do you expect outside customers to be? Transparency is the #1 factor determining employee satisfaction. This makes perfect sense—why would someone want to work for a brand that they feel is hiding anything from them?
Being transparent with employees not only will increase employee satisfaction, but it will also ensure that you’re attracting candidates that actually jive with your culture in the first place. When you have a culture full of supportive, brand-loyal employees, think of how great of an intermeshing environment you’ll have.
Being open with employees will also better communication throughout your entire company. When transparent conversations are being had, the flow of information between employees and higher-ups will grow stronger. And this can lead to a feeling of more personal ownership of work and growth of the company, which in turn flattens the traditional hierarchy and makes room for more creative problem solving and professional growth.
An Engaging Digital Experience
Engaging with your audience and encouraging your audience to engage with you online is the name of the game. Comments on Instagram, shares on Facebook, product features by brand-loyal customers, it’s a great (and free) way to market authentically.
One way you can certainly increase engagement is by posting shareable content and communicating your brand’s point of view on that content.
Let’s say your brand is all about being environmentally conscious and you go great lengths to use recycled materials in your products. Share existing content that is related to that practice and give your point of view and opinion on it. Customers who are also on board with the recycling movement will love to see you advocate about the subject and voice your opinion. And then they’ll be more likely to engage with the content you’ve shared.
Here are a few examples:
- Share how you’re helping out in your community.
- Celebrate local community events and important people.
- Give some behind-the-scenes looks at how your products are made and your employees at work.
- Show your brand’s compliance with data gathering communication laws.
An Increase In Overall Customer Relationships
Customers can sniff fake from a mile away, so it’s best to be transparent about what your brand is up to if you’re working on building genuine customer relationships.
Start with letting your customers know about your values. Companies that consistently communicate their values have a better chance of building loyal, lasting relationships with customers. If you take a specific stance, you’ll probably find that others who feel the same way will be drawn to your brand.
What’s one thing that your brand believes in but doesn’t communicate? Maybe it’s a social or environmental change. 63% of Americans hope that the brands they love will lead the charge in advocating for change. And consumers are attracted to new brands they aren’t familiar with yet when they find that those brands are advocating for that change they feel strongly about. In addition, 56% of Americans say that they would be loyal to a brand for life if that brand were to provide full transparency. For life.
It can feel a little intimidating to take a stance on a subject as a brand. What if you lose customers? What if people won’t agree? But think of it this way: what if you could build even better, stronger customer relationships by being transparent about what you believe in? It’s worth the shot.
Best Practices For Brand Transparency
It’s easy to say your brand is transparent, but how do you incorporate transparency into your company? There are some strategic ways to do this, some ways to make the most out of your authenticity endeavors. No matter which of these best practices your brand decides to give a try, make sure to always be transparent in a way that resonates with your audience.
1. Provide Insights On Your Products
The ultimate goal is to sell products or services, right? Give your customers some insight into the “business” that you’re actually up to.
Give your audience a behind-the-scenes look into your brand’s decision-making process. Be open and honest about your pricing and what makes your products worth the numbers. Show some employees at work, production in progress. Deliver the details upfront and there will be nothing to make wrongful assumptions about.
2. Create A More Transparent Digital Presence
The name of the game is demonstrating your honesty, integrity, and authenticity as often as possible, so take it to all platforms whenever you can.
Take advantage of the popularity of video, live video especially. Showing people what you’re up to is a whole lot more authentic than telling them what you’re up to. Give customers an inside look into your brand and the people working so hard to make it all happen.
The big thing is to not leave any room for imagination when it comes to what goes on behind closed doors. If your doors are always open, you’re doing brand transparency right.
Related Article to Learn More About Digital Presence
How to Use Video Marketing For Your Small Business
How to Strategize Social Media to Improve Customer Service
How To Be Smart About Social Media Management for Small Business
3. Review Your Messaging and Design
Almost every single time someone comes across your brand, messaging and design are involved. (Unless you meet at a networking event or trade show—but still, messaging and design are still going to be present in one form or another.)
If your messaging and design aren’t aligned with the core values your audience knows you operate by, they will notice. Take the time to refine your brand messaging and design and make sure it’s all on point.
This might even take some outsider’s eyes, so make it happen. Have someone outside of your company scan your messaging and design to look for any inconsistencies or inauthenticity.
4. Choose Consistency
Transparency doesn’t count if you only practice is once. Just like anything else you do, consistency is what makes it.
In order to stay consistent with your brand’s transparency, create processes to ensure you stick with it. Maybe that means making it a point to show work in progress photos once a week on social media. Or it could be to write out your social media posts for the week and have someone else in your company review the messaging for authenticity and consistent voice.
Also, help yourself out by being realistic about what you can accomplish consistently. Filming and editing a video of what you’ve been up to weekly might not be in your time budget, so go a different route. Hop on Instagram Live for 5 minutes a week to give your audience an update instead.
5. Own Up to Errors
Being a transparent brand requires you to reveal the good and bad times of business. Errors happen to everyone, even the brands that claim (and look) to be perfect. Yes, they’ve screwed up a batch of products before or have mistakenly shipped out orders to the wrong customers, you just may not know it because they’ve hidden their mistakes.
If you make an error, address it, don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Owning up to errors will not only create transparency around your brand, but it will make you more relatable (because we’re all human and we all make mistakes). And it will help avoid any instances when a customer uncovers those errors to the rest of your audience for you (in a negative way), instead of letting them hear it from you.
Bad review? Respond to it immediately and learn from that mistake—become better than you were before so it doesn’t happen again. Send out the “test” email instead of the finished one? Laugh it off and show your human side.
Of course, it’s important to be mindful of what you share—saying you messed up three orders in a row could generate a bad reputation quickly. But for the one-time, learn-from-it mistakes, own up and let your audience know that you’re human too.